Posted on Mon, Apr. 4, 2011
Angel investors may indeed be all around us, but I’m beginning to wonder if these wealthy investors have enough time to belong to all of the groups that want them as members.
Keiretsu Forum, an international angel network based in San Francisco.
Howard Lubert and financial adviser Vincent Leusner have brought the 21st chapter of the Keiretsu Forum to Philadelphia. Lubert, who is the brother of prominent local investor Ira Lubert, has been an angel investor with other groups over the years, but said he was impressed by how Keiretsu Forum’s process works.
Pennsylvania Angel Network, there are about 250 individual members in the eight angel groups in the Philadelphia area. Two of them have formed within the last 18 months.
Compliance Assurance Corp., a Pittsburgh-based financial-software company, raised $1.25 million last month from several groups, including West Philadelphia’s Robin Hood Ventures, an angel group that led the round. Delaware Crossing Investor Group, of Doylestown, and Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, of South Philadelphia, also participated.
Randy Williams, who founded the group in San Francisco in 2000, said members had invested more than $285 million in 265 companies worldwide.
Investors’ Circle Philadelphia, which now has about a dozen members, according to Tom Balderston, a Radnor investor. While Keiretsu will examine all sorts of industry sectors, including real estate, Investors’ Circle is focused on companies addressing social and environmental issues.
ad hoc exercise by individual investors who wanted to encourage and profit from new growth companies by committing several thousand dollars as well as their experience and contacts.
Entrepreneurs aren’t charged to submit an application or present at a deal-screening meeting, if they’re invited. But those selected to present at a member meeting must pay an administrative fee of $1,500.
When I told Randy Williams, who’d traveled to Philadelphia for the launch, that the fee sounded steep, he defended the charges as necessary to provide a high level of expertise and service to members as well as presenting companies. “You get what you pay for,” Williams said.
Open Angel Forum (again from the West Coast) sprang up in response to the fees being charged by groups to put investors and entrepreneurs together.
Gabriel Weinberg and IT consultant Antonio Tedesco held the first fee-free Open Angel Forum Philadelphia on March 16. Out of 80 applications, they picked six tech companies to demonstrate their products. They hope to hold another forum in September.